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Hell, yeah to the ramble! I wish I had more time to do stuff, even though I did recently take on a class and stuff. There's just something about a 1/3 of the day getting taken up with something that we feel compulsed to do. . .then again, if that ended up being 1/6 of the day, would we really feel less stress and less at a loss of a time. Ah well. . .It's a big question. Hopefully some day I'll finish my thesis and novel & end up doing research, writing, and novel writing more as a job. But then. . .. =D
--Mr. Lex Thu Sep 30 06:33:58 2004
I agree completely with Frank's statement. I've made a couple major life decisions--leaving a decent job for a better commute and buying a more expensive house closer to the city--following this principle. I've never regretted either decision. It was so much less stressful when I switched from a driving commute to a bus commute (even though the door-to-door time was similar). I found myself reading much more, and I almost never arrived at work or at home stressed from my commute. And, despite the irony, I find myself feeling much more relaxed living in the city, where there's plenty to do and where I can get to everything within walking distance, than I did living in a remote suburb with nothing to do and no place to walk to.
--Max Thu Sep 30 06:49:24 2004
Max, previously I mentioned books-on-CD as a possible way of making a driving commute "quality time" similar to a bus commute. On the other hand, books-on-CD are much more expensive, less browsable, and with less selection than real books. I haven't gone to the library yet, so I have to see what the availability is there...

I'm trying to get a handle on my feelings about being in a semiurban setting vs an out and out suburban one. If I'm honest with myself, I don't think it matters as much as I want it to. Actually, FAR more important to me than entertainment and services within walking distance is being close to FRIENDS. Being within walking distance, or 10-minute driving distance of friends can make a scarily critical qualitative difference in the tenor of a friendship.
--Kirk Thu Sep 30 08:41:16 2004
That's for sure. Tonight, we're meeting some friends who live in downtown Boston for dinner. We considered watching the debate with them, but then we'd have to travel from Boston to Medford at 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. (a.k.a., bedtime), which just felt too far. In contrast, our neighbors across the street might come and watch one of the debates with us, probably without any advance planning. The difference of even 30 minutes of travel time really does change the nature of a relationship. I wish more of my friends lived that close.
--Max Thu Sep 30 09:01:42 2004
It's sad how incompatible the American Dream life is with so many types of community. I guess there's nothing stopping people from getting to your neighbor stuff, but I don't think that it happens very much...maybe because our neighbors seem such a matter of chance, who might have nothing in common with us other than geographical location and general humanity. 

Our sense of local community is pathetic, compared even to the easy socialization we get in college (on or off campus), to say NOTHING of how it is compared cultures that keep up strong intergeneration family ties.

But it's a way of the world! I kind of curse Boston for being so cold and dark but it's where my friends and family is. And people in this country who stay in their hometown...often, though not nearly always, can get so parochial it's awful.

What a paradox!

I hope that some of my UU church stuff can help with this, especially those small group meetings I'm trying to get into...
--Kirk Thu Sep 30 10:26:21 2004
Interesting point about the paradox. I found the parochial thing to be very true when I lived in my hometown after grad school. There are competing forces: one says, "go out and see the world and do more than your parents did." The other says, "be close with family and friends." In this country, the dominant force is the former, whereas in many countries (and, really, in this country earlier in our history), it's the latter. I read an interesting, though somewhat rambling, book about this called Refrigerator Rights.
--Max Thu Sep 30 10:35:44 2004
Let's see more pics of the 'Russian Chiclet'
--Nick Thu Sep 30 13:12:20 2004
I picked every apartment I lived in, based on its proximity to work and/or a direct bus line thereto.

My last apartment was a 15-minute walk to work; this current apartment is a 20-minute walk because I'm so far back in the complex, as well as one complex further away. The difference is actually quite noticeable. Still, I couldn't really imagine having to take a bus to work anymore.

I still feel rather distant from my friends and family. In fact, I was very vocally opposed to my parents' decision to purchase a new house fifteen(!) miles further outside town. It's a gigantic house with four bedrooms, and it's just the two of them living there, and they're fifteen miles further away from their jobs, and me, and my brother. I don't understand it at all.

As for travel, I spent a month in Europe, but some of my favorite vacations have been just long weekends. My travel experience is a bit more of the roving backpacker and couch surfer type. I practically always stay in youth hostels instead of hotels. If I have an online friend in town, I stay at their place sometimes, though sometimes I put in a night or two at a hostel just to meet other travelers. And in Europe, I'm certain you'd have more fun connecting with other hostellers and seeing the local flavor, than staying at a stuffy hotel or shitty motel, and waiting in line to take the elevator to the top of whatever tower they have in every damn city for no reason. It's surprising how often you can just go downtown, wander aimlessly, and find some great restaurant, park, or museum, just spontaneously.

Also, going to berlin was just what I needed to restore my faith in history.
--Nick B Thu Sep 30 14:09:14 2004
Inquiring geek minds want to know how a peer met his pig-tailed russian hottie!
--Inept Dater Thu Sep 30 15:23:18 2004
Yeah, what's up with the Chiclet?

Also I remember you saying something once about how you really idealized once in your life when you had a "Friends" living situation, in which you had a roommate and in the same complex/across the hall, you had some other good friends. That does sound pretty ideal. . .have friends close by but not having it become some kind of communal, necessarily responsible to everyone else type of thing.

Honestly, my current ideal is getting a bunch of friends together then buying some houses around a "campus" or something like that and have all the front doors face in ward to the courtyard. That way, there's something of a "forced" interaction at some point and a shared yard. So, if anything, it would be something of a condo/co-housing situation with the level of responsibility to the group up to the individuals. Maybe a common dining hall type thing would be cool, too. And at the same time, the kids would have somewhere to play and meet other kids from families that you trust and such.
--Mr. Lex Thu Sep 30 15:50:32 2004
Inept:
Hmm...luck had a lot to do with it, she's the cousin of a coworker and a friend of The Russian Chiclet bailed on a Boston Harbor Cruise she had already bought tickets for. Said coworker set us up, fairly blind-date-style then my...err, charm and teddy bearish good looks? did the rest. 
--Kirk Thu Sep 30 15:50:42 2004
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